February 3, 2012

Make: Bathtub Crayons That Work

A few weeks ago, I got inspired by THIS picture from my Pinterest Board. Homemade Bathtub crayons.

I LOVED the idea. Read the real post on it. I took all the readers' reviews and advice to heart and headed to Hobby Lobby.
I bought a bag of CLEAR GLYCERIN (soap row...8.99 for 32 oz...use coupon = 5.00), 3 gel paste food coloring (Wilton row....AmeriColor...1.49each) in LEAF GREEN, ELECTRIC ORANGE, & ROYAL BLUE. I only bought bright colors, since they recommended they show up the best in the tub.

Other items you will need: microwavable bowl (glass is best), plastic spoon, long ice cube tray (mine is from Ikea, but many say you can get this same ice cube tray for water bottles at a dollar store. Target may carry them too), and optional Essential Oils (but I forgot to add mine in..oops.).
Melt about 3 cubes of the soap bar glycerin (clear kind only) in a glass container in microwave at 30 second intervals, until completely melted. (One cube of glycerin made about 1 3/4 tub crayons. 3 melted cubes, for me, made a perfect set of 5 bath crayons of the same color). So, I made 5 blue, 5 green, and 5 orange in batches and it took a total of 9 glycerin soap bars.
Next: Add about 1/4 teaspoon of the gel paste food color (the Pinterest blog commented that regular food coloring did not allow the colors to come off on the tub as well as the gel paste did). You MUST work quickly from the microwave, to the food coloring mixing, to pouring!!!!! This stuff starts to harden fast! If it begins to congeal while you are still stirring in your color, then pop it back in the microwave for another 20-30 seconds. Mix coloring as completely in as possible. Pour coloring into ice cube trays.
It took barely an hour for mine to harden completely on the counter. But, it is best left to sit out for at least 4 hours at room temperature.

I had a little extra orange glycerin in my trials, so I made flower shaped crayons too.
Test Results:
First row: the Bright Orange crayon, when tile and crayon are dry
Second Row: The Leaf Green crayon, when tile and crayon are dry
Third Row: (my favorite):  The Royal Blue crayon, when tile and crayon are dry
Here is how the colors show up on our white tub. Pretty good.

And here is my cute "Crayon Tester":

My 12 month old stood up right away, and seemed to know right away what to do with those bathtub crayons! Kept him occupied for an extra 15 minutes!!!

When the crayons get wet, you can see that it does create a BIG mess. I will make them completely a bath-only-toy. When the crayons fell into the tub, their color dye ran too, changing the tub water color instantly. And, these crayons should never be put into the mouth (the glycerin uunfortunately says not, non-toxic).

But, completely supervised, I say this recipe is a keeper for me. Only a little food-dye residue on his hands after a long, colored-on bath. No big deal for this Mommy (well, "yet" anyways).
And it does wipe clean very easily with water. So, for less than $10, you can probably have bathtub crayons for years, more to give away as gifts, and lots of bath time fun for your little ones!

HERE is another idea for bath time fun on my Pinterest board.

Oh, and I have been sewing...just will share that with you next : )!


  1. You are such a good mom that you don't mind a temporary mess from your little one. Looks like he had a great time.

  2. This looks great and I will have to try it. The reason for my post though, is to comment on how your son looks very similar to my own son, who will be 13 months on the 16. When I showed my husband, he thought it was our son!

  3. Kids would surely love playing with these bathtub crayons! It would surely be fun to watch them create works of art in the walls near your bathtub! But of course, after taking a picture, you would need to clean up right?

    1. My son does love playing with them still and he's nearly two now. They work great, and wash off the wall and grout easily....but they can get messy :). Also an important note to consider is be careful to not to let your child put these crayons in his mouth, as they are not, non-toxic. I always sit by the tub while my son is in the bath, and he has a lot of fun with them, while I monitor his play with them. Hope you have a great time with them!

    2. I would like to ask, I have clear glycerin but it is liquid I dont know if it hardens or not. Do you know anything about that?

    3. Liquid glycerin will not work in this recipe. I have both as well, but in order to make the bathtub crayons form up, you must use a solid form (as in the bars). It's a lot like coconut oil/chocolate chips....needs to be firm, then heated, then cooled back to room temp to harden again. Only way it will work :). Hope that helps! Save that liquid glycerin for another project...like giant bubble making!